Chicago Improv Festival is proud to present several workshops taught by professional improvisors from around the country!

NOTE: Unless a workshop is cancelled, all registrations are non-refundable.

The 15-Hour Project ($30, space limited)
Saturday, May 7th @ Theatre Momentum’s Pendulum Space
Register Here:

Chicago Improv Festival is excited to partner with Tony Rielage and Theatre Momentum to present The 15-Hour Project, now in it’s 10th year! Led by Tony and several other improv directors, this immersive, all-day workshop and cumulates with a performance for all participants. For more details on the event, and to register, click HERE!!

Tony Rielage: Tony is the Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Momentum, and has been performing, directing, and producing improv theatre for over 20 years, notably with the Nothing Sacred Players, Trespassers Only, and International Stinger. He has trained at iO, the Playground, and Annoyance, and founded TM’s precursor workshop, Workshop-in-Progress, and then Theatre Momentum. He is the head instructor in TM’s Improv as Theatre training center.


Protecting the Freak ($55)

Saturday, May 7th @ The Annoyance Mainstage 10am-12pm
Register Here:
Sick and tired of blaming Humpy Girl and Creepy Boy for your onstage misfortunes? This workshop gives you easy tools so that you can play with ANYONE*
Susan Messing head shotSusan Messing, a NJ native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for almost 30 years. In the course of her career, she has been named “Improviser of the Year” at the Chicago Improv Festival, “Best Improviser” by the Chicago Reader, and “Funniest Woman in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine.  Messing is an alumna of the iO Theater and the Second City Mainstage, as well as a founding member of Chicago’s infamous Annoyance Theatre.  Susan created and teaches her curriculum at The Annoyance Theatre, The Second City, and around the world. She also teaches classes at DePaul University and the School at Steppenwolf. Her standup act with her puppet, Jolly, was featured at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and NBC’s Late Fridays. Messing has taught Improv & Sketch at the University ofChicago intermittently since 2008. She has also performed in all five TBS Just For Laughs Festivals in Chicago, and every Chicago Improv Festival since it began eighteen years ago.  @MessingSusan.

*99% of the time. Cannot guarantee 1%.



Go For It! ($35)

Saturday, May 7th @ The Bughouse Theater. 12pm – 3pm
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headshot-philbrook_HQEditedIt’s time to stop thinking so much and just go for it! This workshop is designed to get you out of your head and into the scene. Improv is about trust, trusting your partner, and most importantly trusting yourself. And like editing, it’s a skill we can learn. You know those bold moves you love seeing but never seem to make? Well, have you taken the time to focus on the skill set that helps you make those moves? Now is the time! Go for it!

Micah Philbrook was raised in the deep south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he studied theatre since the tender age of ten. He moved to Chicago after college to pursue the art of improvisational theatre. Since then, Micah has completed the training centers at the iO, the Annoyance, and the Second City Conservatory. He is a founding member of The pH Comedy Theater, and half the sketch comedy power duo, the tim&micah project.  Micah currently teaches at the Second City and performs regularly with the tim&micah project, That Sunday Show, and Those Who Can’t. @micahphilbrook



“Tennessee Williams Improvised” ($50)
Saturday May 7th @ LOL Chicago 12pm-3pm
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Feel the heat as you learn the ins and outs of an American classic playwright. What were his influences and how did they play in his language. The recurring themes, structures and characters that evoke this unique style. How to use theatricality to achieve the simmering atmosphere of Williams. Get ready for a workshop of epic emotions, tragic woman, secretive men, messed up families, thick southern drawls, comedy, and sexual tension all mixed with liquor and mendacities.

Randy Dixon is regarded as one of the most experienced improvisational artists in the field. He is a founding member of Unexpected Productions, Seattle’s longest running improvisational theater company, and has served as the company’s Artistic Director since 1988. During his tenure Unexpected Productions has established a reputation of presenting high-quality shows, classes, and workshops. He is the founder and curator of the influential Seattle International Festival of Improvisation, which occurs annually. Randy has taught improvisational theater and acting all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, U.S., and Canada as well as at colleges and universities. He has taught most of the major improvisational troupes in Europe. He is also the founder and director of Orcas Island Project, an international collective of performers who last appeared at the Babylon Festival in Bologna, Italy earlier this year. His approach to improvisation has been influenced by his work and studies with late Del Close (creator of the Harold), the late Paul Sills (creator of Second City), and Keith Johnstone (Author of Impro). He combines this extensive training with his interest and education in Mythological Studies. His book, Being Present is available in several languages and an updated version will hopefully be out in English.


The Game of the Song ($50, limit 14)

Saturday, May 7th @ MCL Chicago 3pm – 6pm
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Discover the simple joy and comedic power of ImprovBoston-style game-driven songs. Using two fundamental structures, participants will explore the ridiculous fun that comes through effortlessly heightening the lyrical, emotional, physical, situational and musical patterns that present themselves in the scene leading up to a song. We’ll play with the emotional and reactive scenic building blocks that lead to the best improvised songs. Experience how the success of the song is virtually guaranteed before the first note is even sung (the secret’s in the scene). With over 15 years of singprov directing, teaching aheadshotnd music direction across the country, Mike Descoteaux is thrilled to share his passion for mind-melting musical improv.
Mike Descoteaux is the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. Mike served as head and creator of the Music Program at The Second City Training Center and music director of the Second City Etc stage in Chicago. Named one of the top young songwriters in the country by the Johnny Mercer/AMTP association, he has had the privilege of working with Tony Award-winning artists such as Jason Robert Brown, William Finn, Mark Hollmann and James LaPine. His work has been seen on NBC, A&E, WGN and stages across the country. He has “composed” and “conducted” over 1,000 completely improvised musicals with Baby Wants Candy, Musical! the musical, I Eat Pandas, BLANK! The Musical Off-Broadway and many others. In addition to teaching at institutions like the Second City, ImprovBoston, Northwestern University, and Columbia College, Mike has lead workshops in music improv around the world.


Add Style to Your Improvised Musicals! ($50, limit 14)
Saturday, May 7th @ MCL Chicago 3pm-6pm
465807_10151585311980479_2081683059_oWith over 20 years as performers and teachers of the musical improv art, Rachael Mason & Stephanie McCullough take musical improvisers past the “how to make’em up” stage of musical improv into the world of a larger theatrical performance. Adding style means increasing your knowledge base of musicalRachael Mason genres and Broadway composers. Adding style means transforming yourself from executing song structure to becoming an “actor that improvises music”. Adding style means “never performing in neutral” on stage no matter what is happening in the scene.This workshop is for all levels of musical improviser performers. Those with tons of experience who would benefit from an intensive 3 hours of reworking all those acting muscles, and those who are still getting their footing in musical improv and benefit from experiential and kinesthetic learning.





“The Journey” ($40, 14 max participants)
Saturday, May 7th @ Theatre Wit Rehearsal Space (1224 W. Belmont) 4pm – 7pm
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Come along on The Journey! Leave your ego at the door and try a form that is focused solely on supporting each other. You remain on stage during the entire unnamed-11piece — a giant game of follow the follower where no one is leading. Organic transformations, seamless transitions, patterns and callbacks. The ultimate in reacting moment to moment. It’s like a drug trip without the drugs. This will help you become a more agile improvisor. It’s hard to explain what it is. You just have to enjoy where it goes.

Jay Sukow  has performed throughout the world, toured with Mission IMPROVable, performed on several house ensembles at iO Chicago, and was also an ensemble member of ComedySportz Chicago and its touring company. He has been a guest performer with Boom Chicago, The Second City, The Second City ETC, The Second City Northwest, Messing with a Friend, and many more. He has been on several podcasts including“Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane” “ADD Comedy with Dave Razowsky” and was featured on the improv documentary “Whether the Weather.”

Jay currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids and dog. He will gladly talk endlessly about how much better the world would be if everyone took just one improv class.

Audition Tune-Up Workshop ($40, limit 20)
Sunday, May 8th @ MCL  Chicago 12pm-3pm
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Experience actual auditions for an improv theater from someone who’s been an auditor at many of them, from Second City’s Conservatory program to iO’s Harold teams to ComedySportz’ generals to The Riot Act’s corporate improv auditions. You’ll receive individual notes on your audition skills, stage presence as well as headshot and resume.12834835_10154120990375809_991186098_n

Jay Sukow has been performing with and without a script for over 20 years. He has trained with, among others, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, David Razowsky, Keith Johnstone, Del Close and Mick Napier. He is the founder of Today Improv, where he teaches improv to actors, business, and everybody else. He is currently on faculty at M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater as well as the director of iO West’s sketch team Millard Fillmore. Before moving to LA, Jay was a faculty member of The Second City, where he also performed regularly as part of their faculty jam “Those Who Can’t.” 12804018_10154120360525809_1436597715_n and a faculty member iO Chicago, where he was also head of its artistic committee and coached groups. Jay has taught and performed at festivals throughout the world, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Club Med and the Del Close Marathon.

Jay has performed throughout the world, toured with Mission IMPROVable, performed 
on several house ensembles at iO Chicago, and was also an ensemble member of ComedySportz Chicago and its touring company. He has been a guest performer with Boom Chicago, The Second City, The Second City ETC, The Second City Northwest, Messing with a Friend, and many more. He has been on several podcasts including“Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane” “ADD Comedy with Dave Razowsky” and was featured on the improv documentary “Whether the Weather.”

Jay currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids and dog. He will gladly talk endlessly about how much better the world would be if everyone took just one improv class.


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